Lean Management Systems


A3 Report Template

A3 Template to apply A3 thinking and the Lean A3 Problem Solving Method

A3 Report
Download free A3 Report template

Much more than just a tool, A3 Problem Solving is a simple method to systematically:

  1. Define and solve problems
  2. Teach managers how to better coach, mentor, and lead
  3. Instill a way of thinking that causes entire teams of people to sharply focus their minds on the foundational Lean ways of seeing process flows and wastes — constantly redirecting their attention back to the foundational Lean teachings:

    Internet icon Lean Objectives and Ideals

    A3 Interview Excel template   A3 Approvals

    Internet icon The Seven Deadly Types of Waste 

    (which are really brought home when you
    use the A3 Gemba Interview template)

  4. Empower people to implement their great ideas

    (using a field-proven A3 approval system)


Download your free A3 Report template


Download free trials — which include a full working version
of this A3 Report template (not just a trial)

A3 Template

The A3 Report is a simple storyboard that tells the whole story of an improvement event on one large sheet of paper.
(The international A3 paper size is 297 x 420 millimeters. In the United States, 11 x 17 inch paper is used.)

The left side defines the problem — the right side proposes solutions.


A3 template


A good A3 should tell a story — bringing a problem to life and pointing the way to a better future.

Bookmark = printer

Use ANY printer to create A3 reports

The Systems2win A3 report template is formatted to use ANY printer to create A3 reports.

Here's how to do it...

The standard template starts with two 8 1/2 x 11 pages
(or international paper size A4)

  • which is ideal for an A3 Report, because the right and left halves of the report serve distinctly different functions
  • and the two pages can be easily viewed and edited side-by-side
    using View > Print Layout > Multiple Pages

If all you have is a small printer...

  • Simply tape the 2 printed pages together
  • You can still create a PDF in 11x17 or A3 paper size

Simply select your PDF Writer as your printer
when you follow the instructions below

For a printer that is capable of printing 11x17 or A3 paper...

File > Print > Printer:

select a printer or PDF writer
capable of printing 11x17 or A3 paper

File > Print > Page Setup, or...

Page Setup icon

Word 2007: Page Layout Tab >
click the tiny icon

(circled in the picture)

  • Paper tab
    (see images to the right >>>)
    • Paper size: A3 or Tabloid 11x17
      Tip: your printer must support this paper size.
    • Apply to: Whole document
  • Margins tab
    (see images to the right >>>)
    • Orientation: Landscape
    • Multiple pages: 2 pages per sheet

If you have not yet installed free PDF writing software

The (vastly inferior) PDF writing feature that comes with Microsoft Office is not capable of printing 2 pages per sheet,
so you will need to either:

  1. Print 2 separate pages, or
  2. Follow or instructions to
    download and use free PDF writing software
Page Setup Paper tab
Page Setup Margins

Bookmark = storyboard

Word is the ideal tool to construct your A3 storyboard

We decided to make this a Word template (rather than an Excel template)
because Microsoft Word provides unmatched flexibility to allow wildly diverse formats — and anyone that has ever seen more than a dozen A3 Reports knows that it is rare for any two to look alike.

Because all of your Systems2win continuous improvement tools are written in Word and Excel —
it is VERY easy to populate your A3 report with screenshots — using:

  1. Print Screen or Copy As Picture (to copy a selected Excel range as a picture)
  2. Paste Special (to paste a copied Excel range as a picture)

Common tools used for illustrating A3 Reports include...

Value Stream Map

Value Stream Map

A3 Illustrator

Stick Figure A3 Illustrator

Flowchart template

Flow charts

Layout Diagram template

Layout Diagram

Root cause fishbone diagram

Root Cause Fishbone

Excel charts


Gantt Summary

Gantt Summary
or Value Stream Plan

Any other drawing

Anything you can
draw with Excel

Examples of A3 Reports

This same A3 template can be used in MANY diverse ways:

To see many diverse sample A3 Reports — refer to the books in our Suggested Reading.


Three Types of A3 Storyboards

Although the Problem Solving A3 Report is by far the most popular, there are 2 other common variations:

  1. The Proposal A3 — which emphasizes the Planning phase of PDCA — because its purpose is to propose a course of action — which will only be implemented if the proposal is accepted. So the proposed DCA section is often condensed into one short section — leaving more room for the proposal.
  2. The Status A3 — which emphasizes the Check phase of PDCA — because its purpose is to succinctly summarize the results of a course of action that has already been implemented (perhaps partially, or completely).

The A3 Storyboard format can be VERY flexible

There is no one single correct template for an A3.

It is the spirit of dialog, not the piece of paper, that is important.

As long as you're using the A3 Problem Solving Approach, and you are able to
keep your deliverable on one piece of paper, then you have great flexibility to format your storyboard
in any way that most effectively "tells your entire story" — from problem through proposed solution.

Your goal is not to "quickly fill in the blanks of an A3 Report".
Your goal is to harness all of the benefits of the A3 problem solving method . . .

Benefits of the A3 problem solving method

  • Provide a single, easy-to-use approach for problem solving — that can be applied to ANY type of problem.
    (When everyone knows what someone means when they say "Let's do an A3", it frees people up to focus on the roots of problems — without needing to reinvent new ways of working together)
  • Encourage people to identify problems, and bring them to attention   
    (in contrast to hiding problems, or pretending that there aren't any)
  • Stimulate group dialog and creative problem-solving — building consensus based on objective, indisputable observed facts
    (in contrast to one person trying to "sell" their half-baked ideas and subjective opinions)
  • Break people of the bad habit of jumping to solution decisions before even defining the root causes
    (and the bad habit of being the heroic fire fighter, instead of preventing fires in the first place)
  • Empower the people closest to the work to share responsibility for improving their work
    (in contrast with top-down command and control that discourages workers from thinking and caring)
  • Encourage managers to manage the means of production by truly understanding the dirty details
    (in contrast to the just-show-me-results Management By Objective approach so popular with so many MBA schools)
  • Instill an organizational culture of "learning to learn"
    (not just doing what you're told — but instilling more effective ways of thinking, working, and learning together) 
  • Groom new leaders in a scientifically repeatable way
    (that actually demonstrate how to lead — and how to mentor their own people to also become new leaders) 
  • Provide a systematic logical thinking process — teaching people to see, understand and synthesize
    cause and effect relationships — in visual, succinct ways that anyone can understand at a glance

Bookmark = Method

The A3 Problem Solving Method

(how to do it)

A3 Standard Operating Procedure template

Refer to your A3 Problem Solving Method template, (A3SOP.docx)

Your lean leaders are able to edit this Word template as an excellent starting point to document and publish your own A3 Problem Solving Method —

so licensed customers should refer to the the PDF that might have been edited to reflect your company's own policies

Tip: Also consider other problem solving methods

Bookmark = Readings

Suggested Readings for A3 Problem Solving

To learn more about A3 management, and see many examples of A3 reports, we suggest the following books & resources:

"The art of progress consists in maintaining order within our processes of change,
and change within our processes of order."                                                         Dr. Alfred North Whitehead

And for alternative or supplemental approaches to problem solving, we suggest the following resources:


More Suggested Reading

The PowerPoint alternative to a Status A3 Report


Process Improvement Tools
Should we make or buy?
Make or buy?

An A3 Status Report has several advantages over PowerPoint:

  1. The entire presentation is on one page — communicating faster and more holistically
  2. It forces a more concise and systematic thought process when preparing the report
  3. It is more easily archived and distributed —
    along with all other documents related to the project
    (usually in PDF format, which is readable to everyone)

As an alternative (or supplement) to an A3 Status Report,

many teams for Kaizen Events, Value Stream Events,
and other types of process improvement projects
will prefer to use their PowerPoint Presentation of Results template (eventResults.pptx)
which several advantages over an A3 Status Report.

Get this A3 Report template

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